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"The heart to Artemis, the body to exploration" : Bryher and the formation of self
- ""This thesis seeks to chart Bryher's (Annie Winifred Ellerman) lifetime work to construct as an act of imagination that gender to which she could readily affiliate herself. Bryher's commitment to being born in the wrong body coincides with a lifelong struggle against the will of her family to sustain her gender in terms of her birth as a girl. It is only through geographic distance that Bryher is finally able to cast aside normative gendering and live to a certain degree freely with her life-long partner, the poet H.D., (Hilda Doolittle). Bryher's constant guardedness regarding her relationship with H.D. in her written works shows the on-going pressure and pervasiveness of patriarchal norms seen most forcibly in her family's emphasis on normative behaviour. In the main primary text for this thesis, The Heart to Artemis: a Writer's Memoirs, Bryher's frustrations with her biological girl-ness is located in her emphatic dislike of girl's clothing. Part of her self-construction, then, involves rejecting any adherence to social norms for girls and women, as well as the reiteration of her own desired masculinity. Bryher's performance of boy-ness is evident in the changes she enacts on her body. Exchanging encoded signs of girl-ness with acts of masculinity, Bryher's desire to be male culminates in her adoption of drag in the safety of her home, Kenwin, in Switzerland. The thesis, then, catalogues the ways in which Bryher sought to invent a self in which her desire to be a boy is given more emphasis than her biological girl-ness. Bryher's early novels reveal the importance of her introduction to Havelock Ellis in 1920 which began an enduring commitment to psychoanalysis and provided a vocabulary for expressing her sexual identification as transgender. Tracking her enactment of boy-ness through numerous roles, the thesis examines Bryher's reconfiguration through her writing of the boy observer, the Elizabethan player's boy, the boy adventurer, and examines Bryher's truth claims as to her intellectual capacity as a child. These in turn foreground her adult identity as a writer and a member of the modernist elites"."
- "Criticism, interpretation, etc"
- ""The heart to Artemis, the body to exploration" : Bryher and the formation of self"